X-Factor #36 (1989, January)
We open with Iceman and Beast saving Calvin and Hobbes from a hot dog stand. (The kid is very clearly meant to look like Calvin, and he’s holding a stuffed tiger toy that looks like Hobbes.) Trish is reporting on the weirdness in Manhattan. Meanwhile, Iceman sasses a fire hydrant, because those things have had it too good for too long! Anyway, there’s tension between Hank and Trish, as a result of Hank’s recent changes. As Hank tries to make a dramatic exit, a subway train pops out of the ground to eat Trish. Its a pretty amazing moment of mood whiplash, honestly. We’re getting some very nice romantic drama, and suddenly – train! It’s so ridiculously over-the-top that you can’t help but admire it.
Meanwhile, N’astirh is monologuing about how his plans are advancing nicely. Then he contacts Warren, grieving over Candy, in order to taunt him a little about the evil in him and his wings. N’astirh also lets slip that he’s in Manhattan, and Warren swears to kill him. And we then cut to Scott and Jean. Jean is still sensing Christopher’s thoughts and feelings, his fear of the demons who’ve abducted him. She’s having trouble dealing with it.
Jean’s dialogue in the panel is very cool. It’s a shame that Walt isn’t able to show any emotion on Scott’s face. It’s tricky, with his eyes covered, but I see it as a weakness of Walt’s style.
Back to the subway! Hank and Bobby are clinging to the subway train, and manage to crawl inside, where Bobby immediately starts talking to Trish about her and Hank. Really, Bobby? Runaway subway train, and you think, “Hey, this seems like a great opportunity to talk about your love life!” She gives in, and says that he used to be gentle and vulnerable, and now he’s a cocky genius, and he no longer needs her. That last part feels a bit odd to me. I guess he previously brought out her maternal instinct? This might just be me overanalyzing, but it feels weird to me that the maternal instinct is often related to romance. That’s a pretty big topic, though, for smarter people than I to figure out. Regardless, Bobby says Hank’s the same guy, and still needs her.
Scott and Jean get back to Manhattan, and their little jet is attacked by a bigger plane. Which is awesomely weird, I love that.
Back to the subway. It exits the tunnels to cross a bridge to Brooklyn, which Hank figures is a good time to stop it, by having Iceman ice up the wheels. The train starts thrashing, and the passengers get mad at Hank and Bobby, until Trish snaps at them, pretty awesomely.
I expect her station will get some very sternly-worded letters over that outburst. Don’t insult potential viewers, Trish! Hank helps everyone out of the train, making jokes, and Trish is grumpy at him over the jokes. Hank continues to fight the train while Iceman gets the passengers to safety. Trish worries about him, while also hating his macho attitude, and decides, to hell with it, she’s going to help save the goddamn day. She throws some cable towards the third rail that provides the train’s power, and that fries the train. Yay for Trish! Beating a goddamn train with just her wits.
Back in the air, Scott and Jean’s plane is taken out when the Pentagram appears in the sky. Then they’re attacked by demons. Hank and Bobby prepare to go help, but first Trish tells him to stay alive because she wants to get to know him. And gives him a little kiss. Aww. So it’s four against a horde. But then – Warren!
This issue’s good. A lot of focus on Hank and Trish, and it’s done well, showing Trish’s mixed feelings about Hank’s changes, and showing her figuring him out and deciding she likes him. It’s good. Yay romantic drama. Jean’s near-panic for Christopher is cool, too, as she’s overwhelmed by the psychic connection. I would’ve liked a little bit more of Scott helping her cope. Or, at least, a better look of concern on his face, but again, Walt’s art is somewhat limited in how expressive it can be. I’m just not a fan of his art style.
Weezie’s over-the-top dialogue does work very well in this issue, though. The whole story is over-the-top, what with demons and all, so the dialogue just fits right in quite naturally.
So, yeah, I really like this issue. It’s a good issue.